Carterville, IL: ThisIsBracketRacing.com/K&N Engineering backed NHRA Super Comp and Super Gas racer Luke Bogacki has enjoyed a banner season. The 32-year-old professional racer has driven to nine final rounds in 15 appearances along the NHRA Lucas Oil Series and Mello Yellow tour. As a result, he currently leads the NHRA Lucas Oil Super Comp standings, and is in position to earn his first NHRA national championship.
Despite not hoisting an NHRA “Wally” trophy since his Super Comp victory at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals back in July, Bogacki has been hot of late, particularly in the Super Gas category. He drove his ThisIsBracketRacing.com backed Charlie Stewart Race Cars built Corvette roadster to a semi-final finish at the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis to kick off the month of September. Two weeks later, he took runner-up honors in the same category at the AAA Texas Nationals in Dallas. He closed the month with yet another Super Gas runner-up finish at the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals near St. Louis, MO.
Bogacki’s September success can be directly attributed to a stellar performance on the starting line. After a .023 reaction in the opening round of the US Nationals, Bogacki posted five reactions time between .004 and .014. In Dallas, his .024 in round 2 was an outlier: his other six lights fell between .014 and .017. Then in St. Louis, he opened eliminations with a “late” .019, before posting lights ranging from .008 to .012 before fouling with an uncharacteristic -.003 red light in the final round.
“I’ve been very pleased with my driving for the last month, if you throw out final rounds!” Bogacki laughed. “Seriously, it’s nice to be back in a groove at both ends of the track. I really struggled on the starting line for a period this summer; probably the worst slump I’ve ever been in. I put in a lot of work on the practice tree, and I changed my approach and routine a little bit. It’s paid dividends.”
Unfortunately for Bogacki, the bulk of his Super Gas success has come at races beyond his quota of points earning events. Only the semi-final finish in Indianapolis helped Bogacki’s cause, as the pair of runner-up finishes came after he’d maxed out his national event claims. Bogacki is currently ranked 15th in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series Super Gas chase.
Bogacki’s ’63 Corvette roadster was constructed by Charlie Stewart Race Cars of Azle, TX, and painted by Todd’s Extreme Paint. The chassis features rear end components and brakes from Moser Engineering; Ohlins Shocks; Mickey Thompson Wheels and Tires; Auto Meter’s Multi-Function Data Logger; a K&R Pro-Cube Delay Box and Switch Panel; a B&M Shifter and trans coolers; Dixie shift solenoid; Earl’s Plumbing Products; a Dedenbear remote mount water pump; and a K&N carbon fiber hoodscoop. Bogacki monitors tire pressure with a precision AirTek gauge. Additional components come from ISC Racer’s Tape and Nitrous Express.
The machine is powered to the 9.90 Super Gas index at speeds in excess of 168 mph thanks to a Huntsville Engine & Performance 582 cubic inch engine. The powerplant features a BRODIX Aluminum block and BRODIX Head Hunter cylinder heads; Wiseco Pistons; Jesel rocker arms and cam drive; and a Crane camshaft and lifters. The motor is topped by APD’s new carburetor/throttle stop combo, which distributes Renegade 116+ Race Fuel. That fuel is exhausted thanks to a set of headers built by Charlie Stewart Race Cars from a Hedman Hedders kit, then coated by Nitroplate. The engine is protected by Lucas Oil and K&N Filters, as well as a J&J Performance engine diaper. The power is put to the tires thanks to a BTE Top Sportsman powerglide transmission and 9” BTE converter. The vast majority of parts on Bogacki’s machine are available at JEGS.com.
As Bogacki prepares for his final points earning event of the 2013 season, the Division 2 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Event in Reynolds, GA, he’s aware of the points implications and at the same time comforted by past success at the Georgia facility.
In 2010, Bogacki came into the same event as a long shot contender for the championship. In order to take the lead, Bogacki needed the leader to fall in the opening round of eliminations, and he needed to win the event. The incoming leader, Ray Miller III fell, and Bogacki won. Weeks later, Gary Stinnett would earn just enough points to surpass Bogacki and deny him his first national championship.
Last season, Bogacki came into the event ranked in the top five of both Super Comp and Super Gas. Although he fell early in Super Comp eliminations, he won a memorable final round battle with fellow championship contender Sherman Adcock, Jr. The win catapulted Bogacki to 3rd place in the 2012 Super Gas rankings.
This season, Bogacki comes into the event as the hunted rather than the hunter. With a massive 676 point score, he leads the Super Comp standings by more than 7 rounds of competition, but the race is far from over. Kyle Cultrera and Ray Miller III lead a group of racers that have an opportunity to overtake Bogacki for the title. In Super Gas, Bogacki will need a late finish to secure a top-ten finish in the national standings.
“I suppose if I had to choose, I’d rather come into my last event as the leader; even though it’s uncharted territory for me,” laughed Bogacki. “Honestly, I’m in a pretty good spot in terms of mental preparation. In Super Comp, I’m improving a 4th round loss. Reynolds is generally a 6-round race. So basically I need to make the final to improve. In Super Gas, I need a huge gain if I have any chance to make the top ten. So really, anything short of victory in either class doesn’t do much to help my cause. That allows me to approach the race like I would any other: I won’t be tempted to count rounds or count points – I’m just trying to win the race.”
Bogacki is backed by ThisIsBracketRacing.com and the Motor City Race Expo. His team also includes Associate Marketing Partners K&N Engineering, Tinsley Drilling & Company, Advanced Product Design (APD), C.A.R.S. Protection Plus, Product Development Group – makers of Air Tek pressure monitoring systems and Flo-Fast pumps, Bill Taylor Enterprises (BTE), JEGS, and Mickey Thompson Tires.